What Does It Really Mean To Me To Love Anime?

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Now, there are probably as many answers to the question of what it means to love anime as there are people who claim to love it. Like most passions and hobbies, it is something that is deeply personal and becomes an integral part of the individual. So while we can share an appreciation of a love of anime, our reason for loving it and how we got there is likely one only we will ever understand.

For those who have read my blog a while you will know my love of anime began with Sailor Moon, though I guess that is technically not correct for two reasons. The first being that I’d seen Astro Boy and probably quite a few other anime prior to Sailor Moon but I hadn’t known what they were. And watching Sailor Moon didn’t make me fall in love with anime. It made me fall in love with Sailor Moon and stories with great female characters.

Sailor Moon, Tuxedo Mask, Sailor Chibi Moon and the Scouts

Given the access to anime at the time was limited, other than Card Captor, that love didn’t really go anywhere in terms of anime even when I knew that Sailor Moon was in fact from Japan, and then got to Australia via American translation. See, my next steps after Sailor Moon were actually Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Charmed. Stories that pushed imagination, had great characters and really good narrative arcs (even if the overall plots, now that I’m looking back particularly at Charmed, were a little questionable in quality).

Of course, I also just had a general obsession with stories and was busily devouring libraries of novels as well as pretty much every movie that hit the cinemas at the time. Even as a teenager, I had a healthy respect for even poorly told stories because even a poorly written story could reveal something, could entertain, could teach me a lesson about how stories and characters could and should function, and generally inspired me.

Conception Episode 12 Itsuki
Alright, my love of even poorly told stories didn’t extend to this. Conception was just bad.

I still remember watching Chronicles of Riddick when it came out and I was at university. My friend and I went in to a fairly empty session (even emptier by half-way through the movie) and set up in the middle with sugar filled drinks and chocolate. I don’t think either one of us had laughed that hard in a long time as the clumsy narration threw exposition at us and actors attempted to deliver nonsensical lines as if they were golden. Fantastic fun and a movie I bought on DVD because nothing works quite so well as a pick-me-up as seeing something fail as spectacularly as that movie does (seriously, they outrun a sunrise at one point).

However, it was around that time or just after it, that a certain someone, who knew I loved Sailor Moon and a few other anime that I’d managed to come across, suggested we watch Evangelion together. They just happened to have it on disc (how I do not know). There was also a Death Note watch somewhere around then or just after. I never can remember which of them I saw first but they both left an impact.

Evangelion - Shinji

You know, there are moments in your life when you just know everything is about to change. As I watched episode after episode of Shinji and the tragedy unfolding for the characters, even as I hoped they would win the day and realised that wasn’t where the story was heading, I think a switch somewhere inside of me was flicked on.

And then YouTube began.

And I suddenly had an avenue to access all of these amazing stories that I’d never seen before, heard about, or even dreamed existed.

Bleach - Gin vs Hitsugaya
If you weren’t watching anime when YouTube first started, you have no idea how frustrating watching fan-subbed shows in ten minute increments was. Like seriously, you rarely found the whole episode subbed by the same group so names and terms and things would change mid-episode, parts would be missing, mislabelled, whatever. And buffering. Wow, I remember waiting for the video to load enough to bother hitting play. Be thankful for better internet and video streaming sites.

It would be nearly 2010 before I would say I was an anime fan. Prior to that I would have claimed to be a fan of specific titles. Sailor Moon, Evangelion, Bleach, Darker Than Black and so on. At the time I was still watching as many live action TV shows as animated ones but the balance was definitely shifting.

For me, anime satisfies my love of stories all by itself. Whether I’m chasing romance or horror or action or drama or anything else, I know that there’s an anime for the mood I’m in and for the story I want to live through for a few hours. While I won’t give up reading books or watching movies, and every now and then I’ll get into a TV series that isn’t anime, for the most part, I don’t need to venture far from anime to feel that sense that I have found what I am looking for.

shirayuki and zen 2

Each new season is an adventure and trying out shows, whether they work out or not, is a delight. Each first episode is full of surprises and each show brings me new characters to meet (whether I end up liking them is another story).

For me, loving anime isn’t something I decided to do. And it isn’t something that I hide. It also doesn’t come at the exclusion of other things that I also love. But I know my life would be a great deal emptier without it. I know that I am really happy to have come across anime like Snow White With The Red Hair, to have spent time with the characters of Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash, to have risen to great heights with the shoutiest of shounen protagonists, and to have been steeped in misery and pain with the edgiest stories that just want to push the limits.

Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash - Mana

While I did indeed celebrate Valentine’s Day this year (as I have for many years), I felt this was a good time to reflect on what it means to me to love anime. To know that anime has a place in my life and my heart and that I really treasure the people I have met through anime and my blog.

Now that the official Valentine’s Day is over, celebrate your love of anime. Share your story of what loving anime means to you.

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DEATH NOTE COMPLETE SERIES [THE OMEGA EDITION]
DEATH NOTE COMPLETE SERIES [THE OMEGA EDITION]

Anniversary Special – Thanks For Joining Me This Week

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Hi everyone, I want to thank you all for joining me this week to celebrate my anniversary. I know the actual anniversary date is May 1 but unfortunately I won’t be online then, so I’m glad you helped me celebrate a little bit early. Despite not being around next week I have content scheduled to go out as normal so hopefully you will enjoy and I’ll be sure to catch up and reply to comments once I have internet again.

All of the anniversary posts including the contributions made by Scott, Mei, Rossi, Irina, Remy, Arithifis, and Aldael can be found using the link below. Be sure to check them out as they shared some great blogging advice and there are links to their blogs if you are not following any of these amazing people.

Anniversary Posts

Now, to finish off the anniversary week, I have my second attempt at an introductory video for Patreon. The original one was up a few weeks ago for feedback and I was given some incredibly helpful advice from a number of viewers and I really thank them for the feedback. The original video is below:

Now, I haven’t changed the music, because despite the feedback, I like the music and the video is introducing me and I kind of think it suits what I was looking for. However, I have been working on it off and on in-between everything else and I think the second video is a lot better. I’m still not entirely happy with it and I know there’s a sound glitch toward the end where a word is cut off and I still haven’t figured out how that happened. However, I would appreciate feedback if you have the time (the video is less than a minute).

While I’m probably not going to rework an introduction video straight away as I’m going to attempt to start working on a video for Patrons as we’re getting closer to the first goal of $50 a month where I am supposed to be delivering some video content to patrons, I would appreciate the feedback as I will apply it to my next project and I will eventually, once I’ve gained some more skill and confidence, come back and redo the introduction video yet again.

Here is the updated video:

With that, the anniversary celebration is officially over and hopefully you will all still be reading next year and will join in the third celebration of 100 Word Anime.

thank you

 


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Feedback Requested on Introduction Video

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Working on video content for the anime blog has been something I’ve been wanting to do through most of the last twelve months but the project I was working on got trashed when I had to change computers and my new computer was not compatible with the video editor I’d spent all that time learning to use.

I also realised I just didn’t have time to produce that sort of content with any regularity. However, I’ve been slowly learning a new program and have finally produced something as an introduction to add to my patreon page. As it is the first video content I have ever actually gotten to upload online, I would really appreciate feedback, hints, tips, opinions and anything else you could offer as this is most definitely an ongoing learning process.

I’ve decided that I want making video content to be more than an aspiration many years down the track. I want to move forward with this goal. However, to make that a reality, I do need to start making the blog profitable in the long run. That said, there aren’t any massive changes coming up as I continue to love writing the current content, but as I start achieving some of my goals on patron I’m going to work to see what I can produce in addition to the current content. Hopefully it will end up being something worthwhile.

As always, a huge thanks to the patrons who already support me and hopefully soon I will be able to provide you with more great (mostly reasonable) content.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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If you enjoyed this post and would like to see Patreon2more great content on this blog, consider becoming a patron for as little as $1 a month.

 

Sword Art Online Abridged Series Review

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Overview:

Sword Art Online Abridged is a parody series of Sword Art Online from Something Witty Entertainment over on YouTube. The story is essentially the same but the show has been recut with scenes removed, and it has an entirely new dub.

Review:

It is odd that I’m reviewing the abridged version of SAO before actually reviewing SAO however I’d like to write this while the show is still fresh in mind. As much as I enjoyed watching this abridged version on YouTube I’m pretty sure once was enough because while some of the jokes made me laugh out loud I somehow don’t think they’d have the same impact a second time through. That said, this is going to be a fairly short review.

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Generally speaking I don’t much like comedy and modern parody is probably one of the things I hate most about comedy. Mostly because it seems a large majority of people think that you can just take a basic idea, lower the intelligence of all the characters, have some obvious physical humour, sex jokes, and inappropriate comments, and serve with substandard presentation, and voila people will enjoy. Tragically they are right in that a lot of people do enjoy that but I find it kind of tedious and dull and generally it misses the point of being a parody in that it is supposed to be an imitation of the original style but with deliberate exaggeration for comic effect. Admittedly, parody expands beyond simple imitation and is full of intertextual references and social commentary, but good parody understands the original subject matter, style and intent and plays off of it rather than simply boiling things down to the most obvious joke.

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This is where I fell in love with SAO Abridged. Yep, it has got swearing and obvious sex jokes (Yes, Klein does ask Kirito is he is going to show Asuna his sword skills which is one of the least subtle euphemisms you could come up with given the context). Honestly, if foul language or smut aren’t your thing, while this isn’t extreme by any means, it is fairly frequent so you are probably going to pass on the series at this point.

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However, what SAO Abridged does is demonstrate an actual understanding of the underlying characters they are making fun of. None of them are given entirely new personalities. Basic traits they already exhibited, through one interpretation of the characters at least, are merely exaggerated. So Kirito, the socially awkward poor communicator essentially becomes a bit of a sociopath at the beginning and all the way through his incredibly twisted personality is pointed out by other characters. The thing is, it isn’t as though these traits couldn’t be seen in the original series. He does prioritize his own life early in the series and he does avoid building meaningful relationships with other characters for an incredibly long time after his first attempt to join a guild ended in disaster. That understanding of Kirito’s original character, heavily reinterpreted and extremely exaggerated, is what makes it so funny (at least to me).



There is one recurring joke with Asuna that I really disliked and it has to do with how she deals with race and to be honest I found those scenes cringeworthy, however for 11 episodes of comedy, for there to only be one recurring joke that really missed its mark with me is something of a surprise even to me. Asuna, otherwise, is pretty funny in this parody. While episode 2 had me worried when they were clearly playing on female gamer stereotypes with Asuna not being able to open her menu, and that is a recurring joke, they fairly quickly expanded Asuna beyond the trope of new female gamer.

Additionally, I loved the way the show played on stereotypes of gamers and the current generation. It didn’t feel like it was just lazily taking on the usual stereotypes and saying, ‘hey we’re being self-aware, laugh’. I certainly loved some of the glitches that they introduced to the playing experience as it actually made the whole online gaming experience more real. Plus, as a parody it did call SAO on some of the more obvious issues particularly the motivation of the ‘villain’. It actually felt like some love and thought had gone into how to portray different ideas.

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And that’s where I have to highly recommend SAO Abridged. The quality of the show put together here and the thought put into the writing really stand out compared to so many other parody videos. Certainly there are some moments where added art work is not quite as polished as the scenes taken from the show and at times the voices don’t quite match up with the character movement, but for the most part the presentation is pretty polished for what it is. Plus, the sound track is awesome. Part of me wants to know why that isn’t the actual theme song for Sword Art Online now and that final fight sequence took on a whole new level of cool with that sound track.

Okay, I’m done. If you’ve watched it, what did you think?


Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James